An interdisciplinary journal about regions, places, and cultures of the US South and their global connections

Saints at the River and Selected Poems

Ron Rash, Western Carolina University

6 December 2007
Ron Rash, 2007.

In these four short videos, southern Appalachian poet Ron Rash reads three poems and an excerpt from his novel, Saints at the River. Drawing upon local knowledge and lore, memory, current events, and personal experience, Rash's writing explores his region's cultural and natural environment while raising questions about the everyday mysteries of existence. These readings were filmed at sites around Cullowhee, North Carolina.

"Saints at the River and Selected Poems" is part of the Poets in Place series, a Research Collaboration in the Humanities initiative funded through Emory University’s Presidential Woodruff Fund, in collaboration with the Office of the Provost. Series producers are Natasha Trethewey and Allen Tullos.


Ron Rash reads his poem "Fall Creek." Poem text.
Ron Rash reads his poem "August, 1959: Morning Service." Poem text.
Ron Rash reads the poem "Three AM and the Stars Were Out." Poem text.
Ron Rash reads an excerpt from his 2004 novel Saints at the River. Excerpt text.

About Ron Rash:

Ron Rash grew up in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, and graduated from Gardner-Webb College and Clemson University. Rash's family has lived in the southern Appalachian Mountains since the eighteenth century, and this region has been the primary focus of his writing career. He cites a diverse array of writers, including James Joyce, Philip Roth, and Eudora Welty, as important influences on his creative approach to place.

Rash's poetry and fiction have appeared in many magazines, such as Sewanee Review, Yale Review, Georgia Review, New England Review, Poetry, and The Oxford American. He is the author of three short story collections, The Night the New Jesus Fell to Earth (1994), Casualties (2000), and Chemistry and Other Stories, Eureka Mill (2001), Among the Believers (2000), and Raising the Dead (2002); three novels, One Foot in Eden (2004), Saints at the River (2004), and The World Made Straight (2007); and a children's book, The Shark's Tooth (2001). His list of awards includes The Academy of American Poets Prize, the Sherwood Anderson Award, the Fellowship of Southern Writers' James Still Award for Writing of the Appalachian South, the O. Henry Prize, and the Southern Book Critic Circle Award. He has taught at the University of South Carolina and is currently the Parris Distinguished Professor of Appalachian Studies at Western Carolina University.

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Recommended Resources:

Selected Published Work:

Rash, Ron. Among the Believers. Oak Ridge, TN: Iris Press, 2000. (Poetry)

———. Casualties. Beaufort, SC: Bench Press, 2000. (Short fiction)

———. Chemistry and Other Stories. New York, NY: Picador, 2007. (Short fiction)

———. Eureka Mill. Spartanburg, SC: Hub City Writers Project, 2001. (Poetry)

———. The Night The New Jesus Fell to Earth and Other Stories from Cliffside, North Carolina.
Columbia, SC: Bench Press, 1994. (Short fiction)

———. One Foot in Eden. New York: Picador, 2004. (Novel)

———. Raising the Dead. Oak Ridge, TN: Iris Press, 2002. (Poetry)

———. Saints at the River. New York: Picador, 2004. (Novel)

———. The Shark's Tooth. Clemson, SC: Find The Shark's Tooth Company (2001). (Children's Book)

———. The World Made Straight. New York: Henry Holt, 2006. (Novel)


Interview with Ron Rash by Robert Birnbaum in The Morning News

Language Can Be Magical: An Interview with Ron Rash by Pam Kingsbury

New York Times Review of Ron Rash's Serena

The O. Henry Prize Story’s Author Spotlight

Ron Rash, "The Importance of Place"

Ron Rash speaks with Karen Spears Zacharias

Western Carolina University Press Release
"Critically Acclaimed writer Ron Rash Named WCU's Parris Professor"

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